When construction workers break ground on a new Paso Robles High School gymnasium next week, it will mark the final stage of a $43 million overhaul that began when a ballot initiative passed in 2006.
The groundbreaking ceremony — which administration officials have themed “Thank you Paso Robles for Measure T! Promise made, promise kept” — will occur Tuesday, March 18, at the high school, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
“We expect to have it open, at the latest, by April 1, 2015,” said Ashley Lightfoot, a public information officer at the school.
When the gym’s construction is completed, it will mark the end of a long-term project that began in November 2006. During the election that year, 59 percent of voters approved a small property tax hike that would raise $20 million for improvements to the school’s facilities.
“We were able to take that $20 million and turn it into over $40 million by getting state matching grants,” Lightfoot said.
Since then, various projects have been completed. The school was reroofed in 2007, new air-conditioning units were added in 2008, and new classrooms have been built to replace portable ones.
“The vast majority of our classes are in permanent buildings now,” Lightfoot said.
The new gym will complement the existing one, Lightfoot said.
“Generally, a high school our size has two gyms,” he said.
The school, which was built for around 1,200 students, now has more than 2,000. The new gym includes a practice gymnasium, a lifestyle classroom, an aerobics room, a weight room and other facilities that will help the school meet physical education requirements, Lightfoot said.
“The P.E. curriculum has increased over the years,” he said.
The cost of the gym, originally estimated at $7.5 million, wound up being $4 million, allowing the extra money to be spent on other projects.